Jan 19 2009

Windows 7

My computer has been broken for 3 weeks. My hard drive had some sort of issue and wouldn’t boot back into windows after I did an update 🙁 so I ordered a 1.5TB hard drive from Newegg (was a SeaGate) which turned out to have a firmware problem. Mine wasn’t the only one, there were many others, it was even on Engadget and whatnot. Anyway, I had to RMA it to SeaGate, paying another $10 for shipping, and it took about a week and a half to finally get another one. Now I’m running Windows 7 (64bit) which is fantastic, however I’ve already managed to BREAK the sidebar gadgets. They just don’t even turn on now, they still exist on my system, they just aren’t working. But it doesn’t matter because when Windows 7 is released, I’ll buy it and reinstall everything. Another thing that broke was my installer. I was trying to patch Call of Duty 4 and I kept getting “1628 failed to complete installation”. The fix is found HERE.

I also ordered 4GB more RAM, bringing my total to 6GB. I’m excited for that. Next on my list of things is to get a digital TV tuner, this way I can avoid having to deal with a stupid converter box.

Another note. I got thte 2.8GHz MacBook Pro (320GB 7200RPM hard drive, 4GB RAM) and I love it… with the exception of the keyboard, which I also love don’t get me wrong, mine was just messed up. The “A” key from the get go was all weird, and the “B” key popped up on me when I was typing. I loved my PowerBook’s keybaord, it was wonderful, except the back lighting was dumb because the keys were silver. My MBP’s back lighting makes more sense because the keys are black. So yesterday I went to the Genius bar at the Costa Mesa Apple Store and they took my baby away and will have it for 7-10 business days. This is because it’s uni-body design makes it so that they will have to replace that whole top part to fix the keyboard… partially because they don’t have the individual keys yet. This is good for me though because now I’ll have a new keyboard. Oh another reason they’ll have it so long is because it was the custom ordered one… yup. Oh well. I’ll miss it while its gone, at least I have Call of Duty 4 and Left4Dead on my desktop to keep me company.

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Sep 22 2008

How to keep your computer running great.

I’m directing this post to people who aren’t that comfortable or familiar with computers:

Computers aren’t that difficult to use. They may seem confusing, difficult, and stubborn at times, but with a little patience and curiosity this computer anxiety can be cured. Here are a few simple tips to keep your computer at its best. These suggestions can be applied whether you are using a Mac or Windows Operating System with a little modification for one or the other.

Step 1. I can’t emphasise this enough! PROTECTION PROTECTION PROTECTION!

  • This means get an anti-virus program, and keep it up-to-date. Try AVG.
  • Use an ad-blocker on your Internet browser. Try Firefox with Adblockplus.
  • Do not click on pop up ads. If you get one, make sure you are using the real “X” to close it. 
  • If something seems fishy – Don’t Panic! Remain calm and assess the situation. What did you do different this time? Did you remember to log out the last time you checked your e-mail or logged into an online banking account?   
  • Don’t access any accounts through a link from an e-mail. What if the e-mail was spam? Then you just gave your information to a hacker. Looking to get a new e-mail account, that has better spam filters? Get gmail!
  • Remember to empty your recycle bin daily. Not only does this clear out space on your harddrive, but it also ensures that you delete everything you mean to. Another way to make sure you don’t have extra non-needed junk in your computer is to get Ccleaner, and use it when you empty your recycle bin.
Step 2. Remember to update your software.
  • Mac users – this is simple. Go to the little apple in the upper left hand corner and chose “Software Update” from the drop-down menu. It will automatically update all the software that needs it. Enter your password and it will download and install everything. A restart will be required, but again that is prompted.
  • Windows users – a little more difficult unfortunately there is no magic button like the Mac users have. However Microsoft does update your software automatically assuming you have not chosen to disable these auto updates. If they are enabled, your computer will restart, or if you have that disabled, the updates will install after the next restart. However, this only updates the operating system. You will still need to update your anti-virus, Internet browser, e-mail clients, chat clients, i-tunes, and every other program you have installed on your computer that you use. Most of the time its as simple as clicking on Help on the toolbar of the program and then chosing “Check for Updates” and then following the prompts. 
  • Make sure you have the current drivers. This includes display drivers, bios drivers, and even drivers for your mouse. This is a little more advanced. If you do end up contacting somebody to do work on your computer, this is something they may do for you, especially if you mention something to them.
Step 3. If you can’t figure something out – Google it!
  • Does an e-mail look suspicious to you? Is it an e-mail from your bank telling you that you need to reset your password? DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK! Look for things unusual about the actual e-mail itself. Is the sender the usual one? Are the images the same as the ones your normally get? The best way to find out if it is fake or real, copy the sender (ex. yourfavoritebank@banks.com) and paste it into a Google search. Usually something will come up saying its fake if it actually is.
  • Can’t figure out how to change your user icon? Google it!
  • To “Google” something, simply go to www.google.com and in the area beneath the logo, type in a question. This is the simplest and most effective way of getting the results you want. Do not simply type “chicken recipe” try “how to make a roasted chicken with gravey” (without the quotation marks). Then click search or press Enter on your keyboard. A number of ‘results’ will return and choose the one you think best answers your question. Do not be afraid to look through more than one.  
There are many other things I could go into, but I will save that for another post. I hope this helps a friend in need!